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CCNP - How much difference does it make with limited CISCO experience?

Discussion in 'General Cisco Certifications' started by MJMcMahon, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. MJMcMahon

    MJMcMahon New Member

    Hi all -

    apologies in advance as I'm somewhat frustrated at this point. Just looking for some advice from those who've trod this path before.

    A little history: I've been an IT professional for over 20 years now, passing my first cert on Novell 3.12 back in the day. Unfortunately, I remained loyal to Novell a lot longer than was wise from a career perspective and now I'm paying the price for it. In an effort to return to relevance, I passed my Cisco CCNA a little less than two years ago and, while I'm working, it's doing desktop support not networking. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that my current employer is interested in allowing me to leverage my Cisco experience. I've been looking for network opportunities, but the last two jobs I interviewed for turned me down due to lack of Cisco experience. One wanted to pay quite a bit less than I'm currently making, and the most recent position eliminated me due to lack of experience. I have another interview tomorrow but I don't know yet how much real Cisco experience it will add to my resume' (they are looking for CCNA) or how much they'll be willing to pay.

    This leads me to my question: will pursuing CCNP make a significant difference? I'm certainly no paper tiger, but recognize I need more field experience to really get my chops. At the same time, I can't really afford to have my pay cut by 20% to get that experience either. Will the CCNP cert (along with some experimentation on my home network) be enough to make the difference?

    Thanks in advance for any advice,

    Certifications: Cisco CCNA
  2. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

    Mike, you pretty much answered this yourself really, this is a professional level certification that’s designed to prove your ability\capability. Taking the exams when you have the experience to back it up is great but taking the exam to try and improve your career chances won’t win you over in the interview.

    Homelabbing for Cisco certification isn't the way ahead for you I am afraid, running something in the lab is great but it doesn't give you enterprise level support experience and that's really something you need to have if you want to pass your CCNP.

    If I were in your shoes I would get the CCNA level experience you require and then look at increasing your certifications when you can honestly say you’re ready for it, getting certifications ahead of time not only does you a dis-service but also cheapens off that certification for others who do have the experience because all it takes is for the interviewer to have a couple of bad interviewees with said certification and all of a sudden that certification is cheapened off and deemed as worthless because it’s not proving anything (look at early NT4 MCSE’s, at least with the CNA and CNE you actually knew what you were talking about as it was such a niche market, Microsoft and Cisco are far more widely available.
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  3. Rich165

    Rich165 Bit Poster

    Hey Mike,

    I've interviewed guys who have been CCNP's with very varied levels of competency, if you can only get home lab experience within your current role, I'd suggest spending some time with a lab building out scenarios which should help bring your skills up a few notches. Feel free to PM me if you want some ideas.

    Theres nothing wrong with getting started in CCNP studies, after all it shows commitment, but it won't solely help in getting the role or the pay, this I'm afraid will be determined by what you can bring to your employer today/next 3 months.


    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP Server 08 & Exch07, CCNA, CCNA Sec
    WIP: ...everything else!!

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